On June 12, 2016 police seized almost 500kg of methamphetamine at a remote beach in Northland.

That single find - with a street value of $450 million - was bigger than the total seizures of the previous two years combined.

It signalled the beginning of a new wave of New Zealand's meth epidemic. For twenty years, law enforcement had fought the drug and lost. Now it was back - more pure and more available than ever.

Almost 500kg of meth was found in 2016 at Ahipara beach in Northland, marking the beginning of a second wave of New Zealand's P crisis. Photo / File
Almost 500kg of meth was found in 2016 at Ahipara beach in Northland, marking the beginning of a second wave of New Zealand's P crisis. Photo / File

At lunchtime today, the Herald launches its long-form documentary Fighting the Demon, an unflinching investigation from deep within New Zealand's entrenched methamphetamine crisis.

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A team of investigative reporters spent six months in communities ravaged by meth - 10 years after the Herald's landmark "War on P" series, an unprecedented look at methamphetamine harm.

In towns across the country, the journalists worked with users desperate for help; former addicts still struggling years after giving up; families forever ripped apart by the impact of the drug.

The reporters - Jared Savage, Kirsty Johnston and Chris Reed - also spent time with law enforcement hunting traffickers, front-line police working to stop dealers, and with the health professionals working to pick up the pieces left behind.

Director Mike Scott, who also filmed and helped to edit the 40-minute documentary, said the experience was more difficult than he ever expected.

"Listening to addicts' stories, hearing how the problem is worse than ever and learning the war on drugs has utterly failed was extremely confronting," Scott said.

"It forced me to confront my own preconceptions about addiction and hopefully the audience will too."

Scott said the honesty from the recovering and current addicts was astounding.

"Honesty is a part of the journey to healing and we are all privileged they were prepared to share their darkest times with us."

The project is the Herald's second collaboration with Greenstone TV, one of New Zealand's leading production companies.

Greenstone's executive producer Tash Christie said it was a privilege to work with the Herald investigative team.

"The team's desire to portray the humanity of the problem, and profound suffering that comes from addiction, provides a beating heart to the issue that will resonate with all New Zealanders," Christie said.

Nicky Goldsbury is the mother of convicted meth manufacturer and dealer Karl Goldsbury. She features in the Fighting the Demon documentary. Photo / Mike Scott
Nicky Goldsbury is the mother of convicted meth manufacturer and dealer Karl Goldsbury. She features in the Fighting the Demon documentary. Photo / Mike Scott
The Herald spent time with current and former addicts, including Lucy, who uses every day. Photo / Mike Scott
The Herald spent time with current and former addicts, including Lucy, who uses every day. Photo / Mike Scott

Their team's first project, Under The Bridge, won the Voyager Media Award for Best Team Video in 2018.

It was made with funding from New Zealand on Air.

Come back at lunch time today to see the full documentry.